Twelve CNR students and staff members “plunged” into the Service Trip during the 2012 March Spring Break to Joplin, Missouri. Joplin was hit by a devastating EF5 multiple-vortex tornado in May 2011. At its height, the tornado reached a maximum width in excess of one mile and winds at speeds of 200 miles per hour.
The May 2011 tornado ranks as one of Missouri's and America's deadliest tornadoes and is likely to be the most exorbitant, as the cost to rebuild Joplin could reach $3 billion. It was the deadliest tornado to hit the United States since 1947 and the seventh-deadliest single tornado in U.S. history. The death toll from the tornado is up to 162 known deaths directly linked to the tornado.
CNR volunteers collaborated with Catholic Charities of Southern Missouri in the rebuilding efforts in and around the city of Joplin. Volunteers worked on home exteriors, framing repair, insulation and drywall, interior painting, and cabinets.
The devastation to Joplin was greater than expected. "This was such a moving experience. The areas where the tornadoes hit were worse than I imagined. It is heartbreaking to see this level of devastation. But encouraging was the spirit and devotion of the CNR Plunge team towards helping those most in need in Missouri," says Jennifer Crowhurst SAS'03, Campus Minister and
The Plungers themselves attest to the spirit of service to which they are called by God in order to help others in need. "Lifting the beams of burden that once stood as a fence was the group's first steps to spiritual service. Removing debris allowed us to see God. Some Plungers did yard work while others prepped for painting. As the sun continued to shine, God's presence was felt in each task. The paint was divided among those with brushes and rollers, others grabbed scrapers to remove paint chips. Alas, the three of us joined together to paint away the picture of pain caused by the tornado." Reflection by Plungers Zena Jamal SN'12, James Lott SNR'14, and Jaclyn Reynolds SAS'12.